Facebook Outlines Video Platform Shift for 2015
By all accounts, Facebook video had its best performing year in 2014. By August 2014, desktop video views on Facebook had surpassed that of YouTube’s. By the end of the year, more people were uploading their content to Facebook than anywhere else.
In its official announcement—posted on January 7, 2015—Facebook stated that “the number of video posts per person has increased 75% globally and 94% in the US.” The social network has averaged more than a billion views per day since June 2014, and a 3.6x year-over-year increase in the amount of videos that come from both users and brands.
Facebook video is poised to deliver an even stronger performance in 2015, and the company wants its users to make optimal use of the platform. In a blog post addressing content creators, Facebook highlighted an “increased shift” towards visual content, one that has been spearheaded by videos. Because videos are now part of the News Feed, a conscious effort on both quality and accessibility was stressed due to the possibility of content being seen and shared by friends, family, and other connections.
Two other elements Facebook said to focus on were length and the first frame of display. As Figure 1 above demonstrates, a good first frame is effective in grabbing people’s attention, and also shows how creative the platform can be for brands. In this case, Time Magazine used Facebook video to present an animated cover since “shorter, timely video content tends to do well in News Feed.” Moreover, Facebook encouraged public figures and journalists to post raw videos “that are compelling, shareable, clips that no one else will have.”
Facebook has also released a few resources for video creators to assist with management and analytics. In May 2014, a video metrics tool was launched to measure factors like audience retention and unique views to help creators gauge viewer interest. More recently, a video playlist creator was added to Facebook Pages in what some would consider a move to transform the social network into a leading content distributor.
Facebook is not without its fair share of critics, however. Some believe that due to the auto-play feature of some video ads, the “billion views per day” average may be exaggerated, and does not translate into engagement. Regardless, Facebook has invested greatly into the medium and if the right content creators are courted, YouTube could finally be unseated as the central hub for video marketers.
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